Scientists from several research teams at the International Clinical Research Centre (ICRC), a joint facility of the Masaryk University Faculty of Medicine and St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno, focused on microbial infections and Alzheimer’s disease. The link between the two has been demonstrated in many studies, and the research focused on the frequency of the most common viral and bacterial pathogens in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

The paper, entitled “Increased occurrence of Treponema spp. and double-species infections in patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” was published in the scientific journal Science of The Total Environment (IF – 10.75).

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible, progressive neurodegenerative pathology. It accounts for 60-80% of cases of dementia. Dementia is a general term encompassing memory loss and the gradual decline of other cognitive abilities, often severe enough to interfere with an individual’s daily life and independence. The origin of Alzheimer’s disease is not yet fully understood. The disease is characterised by a pathological cascade of protein clotting. One of these is amyloid, whose function is to protect the brain from infectious agents, i.e. viruses or bacteria. There are theories that the action of a particular virus or pathogen may cause this protein to clot more than is permissible and thus trigger the pathological cascade.

For the detection of five bacterial and five viral pathogens, a multiplex PCR assay kit has been developed in collaboration with BioVendor, where all of the aforementioned pathogens can be detected simultaneously. “Although the link between microbial infections and Alzheimer’s disease has been demonstrated in many studies, the contribution of pathogens to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease remains unclear,” said the first author of the paper, Dr Michal Nemergut from the Loschmidt Laboratories of the MU Faculty of Science and the ICRC. “Therefore, we investigated the frequency of the ten most frequently reported viral (HSV-1, EBV, HHV-6, HHV-7, CMV) and bacterial (Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, Borrelia burgdorferi, Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema spp.) pathogens in serum, cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue of Alzheimer’s disease patients.”

Serum and liquor samples from 50 patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 53 control subjects without cognitive deficits were used. The samples and data were provided by the Czech Brain Aging study – a national aging study led by Kateřina Sheardová, MD, and Prof. Jakub Hort, MD. A significantly higher frequency of patients with Alzheimer’s disease who were positive for Treponema spp. was observed compared to controls (62.2% vs 30.3%). Furthermore, a significantly higher incidence of cases with two or more concurrent infections was confirmed in patients with Alzheimer’s disease compared to controls (24% vs 7.5%). The studied pathogens were detected with comparable frequency in serum and cerebrospinal fluid. In contrast, Borrelia burgdorferi, human herpesvirus 7 and human cytomegalovirus were not detected in any of the studied samples.

This study provides further evidence of an association between microbial infections and Alzheimer’s disease. “The results show that parallel analysis of multiple pathogens and detection of their occurrence from multiple different biological samples provides interesting additional information, and this methodology should be considered for future studies working with this hypothesis in the context of Alzheimer’s disease.” said Katerina Sheardová, MD.

Dr_Sheardova

The International Clinical Research Centre of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno was visited by Mgr. Helena Langšádlová, Minister of Science, Research and Innovation. During her visit, she learned not only about the history and current activities of the Centre, but also about future plans and visited the workplaces of several research teams.

At the FNUSA-ICRC she was welcomed by the director of the hospital Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák and the director of the centre, prof. MUDr. Irena Rektorová, Ph.D. In a short presentation, the Minister was presented, among other things, the NPO EXCELES project focused on research on neurodegenerative brain diseases, which also aims to create a national authority, the National Institute for Neurological Research (NINR). Eleven institutions from all over the country are cooperating in the project and the main beneficiary of the grant and coordinator is the St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno.

The presentation was followed by a tour of the selected departments. Minister Langšádlová visited the laboratory of the Centre for Cell and Tissue Engineering, where she learned about the production of cell-based medicines, as well as the workplace and operating rooms of the Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology team. “I was very pleased with the Minister’s visit and her keen interest in our research and the NPO’s neurology project,” said Director Rektorová.

Minister Langšádlová visited the researchers of the Centre for Translational Medicine in Biological Park Brno. The head of the CTM, researcher Giancarlo Forte, introduced her to the work of the teams dedicated to basic research using, for example, organoids, both theoretically and practically directly in the laboratories. “For me, visiting the Centre of Excellence is a confirmation that we are really competitive in science and research. My ambition is to support excellent research, cooperation between the individual science centres, but also their internationalisation,” added Minister Langšádlová.

Minister visit Minister visit

For the seventh time, the International conference Cannabis and Science will be held on Tuesday, 24 May at 9:00 a.m. at the Brno Observatory and Planetarium. The conference is held under the auspices of the Director of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák and with the support of the Director of the International Clinical Research Centre of FNUSA Prof. Irena Rektorova.

Cannabis – a topic that still arouses emotions, especially due to the lack of information. Comprehensive information on research, cultivation, legislation or use in medical practice will be the main focus of the conference. Prominent foreign and Czech experts will present the results of their work, for example Prof. Mechoulam from Israel, who is now literally one of the legends of this field, not only thanks to the discovery of the THC molecule (tetra hydrocannabinol). “I am glad that after a break caused by the coronavirus pandemic we will meet again with doc. Lumír Hanuš, who has been researching cannabis for more than thirty years in Israel,” added Dr. Radovan Hřib, a pioneer of cannabis treatment from St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno.

Prof. Šulcová, a recent winner of the Brno City Prize, as well as experts from Italy, Ireland and Germany will also speak at the conference. Probably the most important topic from a practical point of view will again be the legislative changes related to the cultivation of medical cannabis. “The paradox is precisely the legislative situation, where we have an amendment to the law, valid from 1 January 2022, but so far without an implementing decree. For this reason, even the hospital is waiting for rules on how to apply for a license that would allow commercial cultivation of medical cannabis. And thus also to use the experience that we are gaining in the field of research on cannabis cultivation so far in our experimental cultivation of medical cannabis, which opened last year,” added Dr. Václav Trojan, Head of the Cannabis Research Center FNUSA-ICRC.

The conference is also intended for university students and teachers and this year’s event will also remind us that J. G. Mendel, whose bicentenary we are celebrating this year, also worked with cannabis. The conference website can be found here:

Cannabis conference

On Tuesday, 24 May, the Kraví hora park in Brno will become a centre of awareness of the fight against stroke. In the Czech Republic, 6 thousand people die of stroke every year, regardless of age. Yet with early diagnosis and early first aid, the consequences of a stroke may not be so fatal. Awareness of stroke is generally low in our population, especially among children and teenagers. Therefore, the public health group, led by the International Clinical Research Centre of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), has for the fourth time relied on the FAST run as part of its awareness campaign and this year also on the presentation of a single by the well-known rapper Jakub Rafael alias MC Gey. The Brno-based artist composed and filmed the video “Corner of the mouth”, which introduces the issue of CMP to young people in a way that is understandable and close to them.

The fun programme for the public and schools will take place on Kraví hora from 10 am to 3 pm. First, the FAST run, an event for primary school pupils, will start. The name FAST run is derived from the so-called FAST method, which helps lay people to remember the symptoms of CMP. (F-face/face, drooping of one corner and eyelid, A-arm/arm, unable to keep both arms at the same height in the forearm, S-speech/speech, confused, incomprehensible answers to simple questions or difficulty in understanding them, T-time/time, if even one symptom is noticed, the emergency services should be called immediately, number 155).

Children demonstrate this knowledge during the race. “This is a completely unique opportunity to learn how to respond to an acute illness in the field. Racers will pass through five stations on the track where they must help a person with a specific health problem, such as a stroke, in simulated situations. This is the fourth time we have organised the event and the children agree in their feedback that it is an experience of a lifetime,” says Hana Maršálková, the organiser of the event and head of the Public Health Group at FNUSA-ICRC.

The partners of the FAST run are the Záchranka App and the Brno Observatory and Planetarium. Musically, the event, which is held under the auspices of the Mayor of the Statutory City of Brno Markéta Vaňková and the Municipal District of Brno-Centre, will be accompanied by the band Čohanas and the main star, Brno rapper MC Gey, who will present the theme song of the whole day called Corner of the mouth, in which he raps about the symptoms of CMP. “The brain can’t go in a clogged artery, it’s good to know what, when the stroke knocks, three main symptoms, so let’s check them out,” are the opening words of the song, whose title is derived from the droopy corner of the mouth that is one of the symptoms of CMP. “When we were thinking about how to raise awareness about stroke in our Saste Roma project, which is aimed at preventing serious illnesses in excluded localities, we decided on a rap song to bring the subject to young people. The younger generation is often the one who calls their parents and grandparents to the ambulance when they have a stroke,” adds Hana Maršálková, head of the Public Health Group at FNUSA-ICRC.

Dedication

On Wednesday, 11 May, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports announced the results of the public competition of the EXCELES programme. This is a call launched within the framework of the National Recovery Plan (NPO) with the aim of creating a National Institute for Neurological Research (NINR). The project will be launched in July, will run for three and a half years and involves the collaboration of eleven institutions from across the country. The main beneficiary and coordinator is St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno. The total subsidy received is almost CZK 590 million.

The public competition in the Programme for Supporting Excellent Research in Priority Areas of Public Interest in Health Care – EXCELES was one of the first calls announced under the National Recovery Plan. These were announced in several areas, for example, focusing on oncology, metabolic-cardiology, virology, etc. “FNUSA and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University entered the project together, based on their close cooperation. The fact that we are the coordinator of the project is a prestigious matter,” said Professor Milan Brázdil, Head of the First Neurological Clinic of FNUSA and the Medical Faculty of Masaryk University. In addition to the Brno platform, the other main institutions are the first and second Faculty of Medicine of Charles University, and other institutions are also involved, including the Academy of Sciences or the Czech Technical University and the University of Technology.

The central aim of the project is to connect excellent research teams with similar focuses, especially across universities and academies of science, to make the most of their unique expertise, to support the efficient use of existing cohorts and already acquired data, and to enable specialised research laboratories to carry out data evaluation so that work is concentrated in these central laboratories and not carried out in multiple locations at once.

This goal requires the establishment of a new national authority, the National Institute for Neurological Research (NINR), whose primary mission will be to systematically seek out breakthroughs in brain and nervous system knowledge with the goal of using them programmatically to reduce the burden of neurological disease and improve the quality of life of the affected population. The research will mainly focus on neurodegenerative diseases, i.e. for example Parkinson’s disease and dementia, and partly on COVID-19 and its impact on neurodegeneration.

The tasks of the NINR within this project will rest on three pillars of research looking at the issue of neurodegeneration from three different aspects – movement control disorders, cognitive disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders. “And it is not only about closer cooperation between the participating institutions, the project also includes student mobility, establishing greater cooperation with foreign countries, attracting foreign students and internationalising our scientific institutions,” emphasised FNUSA-ICRC Director Prof. Irena Rektorová.

 

 

 

Supported by Project No. LX22NPO5107 from the National Recovery Plan (MEYS).

 

On Tuesday, 26 April 2022, in the presence of the Director of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák, Dean of the Faculty of Science of MU prof. Mgr. Tomáš Kašparovský, Ph.D. and the Director of the International Clinical Research Centre of the St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) prof. MUDr. Irena Rektorová, Ph.D. signed the Agreement on Cooperation between the Faculty of Science of MU and FNUSA-ICRC.

After the signing of the agreement with the Medical Faculty of MU, this is another step towards strengthening the cooperation between St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno and Masaryk University in the field of research. “Cooperation with Masaryk University has long been one of my priorities. It is not just about formalizing mutual relations, but actually making long-term cooperation more effective,” said Vlastimil Vajdák, director of the hospital.

The subject of the agreement is to regulate the conditions of cooperation in the implementation of scientific research activities by joint research groups of FNUSA and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University, as well as research groups that will be established in the future. “I am very pleased that after long but constructive negotiations we have managed to reach an agreement that is beneficial for both parties,” said the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Tomáš Kašparovský. “Among other things, we have agreed with the director that our graduates of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Genetics could obtain interesting job offers within the framework of cooperation with the hospital.”

Professor Rektorová adds: “I am very happy for the formalisation of the relationship, and the agreement also declares the joint entry of both institutions into major strategic projects. Another common interest is the participation of motivated FNUSA-ICRC scientists in undergraduate or postgraduate teaching at the MU Faculty of Science; teaching positions are competed through a selection procedure.”

There are several joint teams of MU Faculty of Science and FNUSA-ICRC. These include Prof. Jiří Damborský’s Protein Engineering research group, which operates within the Loschmidt Laboratories of Faculty of Science MU, RECETOX and FNUSA-ICRC. Furthermore, the Medicinal Chemistry group of doc. Kamil Paruch and the Laboratory Oncology Translational Research group of RNDr. Jan Škoda.

 

Agreement signature

Agreement signature

Lose ten kilos in a month without exercise. Prepare a twice-daily drink based on the latest scientific findings and the pounds will come off on their own. Smear yourself with a magic cream made from a secret blend of herbs and the fat cells will dissolve in your body. Such slogans are encountered by most of us today and every day. However, once people invest often considerable money in the products, they find that the result is always the same. The desired effect is simply not achieved without work.

At the beginning of March, the fight against excess fat is also being launched by Kardiovize 2030 at the St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno. Unlike miracle drugs, however, it does not promise miracles on the spot. “In the new Lifestyle Programme, we are trying to instil the principles of a healthy lifestyle in our clients, advising them on diet, exercise, but also on their psyche, which is an important part of any life change,” said Jiří Erlebach, spokesman for St Anne’s Hospital.

The annual Lifestyle Program will offer twenty-two one-hour group sessions with a coach to discuss all topics related to a healthy lifestyle. They will be supported by other participants with whom they will exchange knowledge during the groups. “I have to say that the group has motivated me a lot to lose weight. I knew I was not alone in this. And when I had a problem, not only the coach helped me with it, but also the other members who had solved a similar problem in the past,” said Jitka, who completed the pilot version of the programme last year.

Junk food won’t fly out of the fridge

Experts from Cardiovision 2030 also know that losing weight is not a matter of a short time. It’s all about creating long-term habits. That’s also why drastic diets don’t work, as people often go back to their old habits after they stop. “I’m certainly not going to throw food out of the fridge or ban people from eating. On the contrary, we will think together about which foods are better for us and look for healthier alternatives,” explained Martina Bruzlová, a coach and coordinator of the programme.

Nutritional therapist Monika Kunzová will also be available to the participants throughout the programme. “I will explain to clients the importance of all nutrients and their functions in the body. They will be able to contact me even if they are hesitant about whether a given food fits into their diet,” she informed.

The one-year course starts in March

Those interested in making a lifestyle change should not hesitate in signing up for the programme. It starts in March. Capacity is also limited. “Because we want to have enough time for everyone, there will be a maximum of twelve participants in each of the two groups,” Bruzlová pointed out. She added that in case people cannot attend all the lessons, there is an alternative in the form of a video. “Those who do not want to share their feelings with the group can then pay extra for private sessions,” she noted.

The cost of the programme starts at 950 CZK per month, with the price going up by 250 CZK per month in case of individual consultations. People can find more information on the project’s website.

Kardiovize_programme

Mgr. Martin Toul from the Loschmidt Laboratories of the Faculty of Science MU, RECETOX and the International Clinical Research Centre at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) has discovered in his work a connection that increases the previously recognized effectiveness of staphylokinase in dissolving blood clots up to ten thousand times. This breakthrough discovery could help to find new and more effective drugs for acute stroke patients.

Two approaches are currently used to treat stroke. The first is mechanical, where the blood clot is removed using a catheter, while the second is biochemical, where the thrombus is dissolved using a drug. The first method is more demanding in terms of technical equipment and also in terms of thorough training of personnel, while the second is easier to apply, but it has its limits too, especially in terms of efficacy and the cost of the substance administered.

Currently, the most widely used drugs contain a protein called alteplase as the active substance. Although this has a relatively selective effect directly on the blood clot, it has limited efficacy and has a higher risk of thrombus recurrence or unwanted bleeding. Also for this reason, agents that dissolve the thrombus faster and without the risk of side effects are constantly being sought.

A protein produced by staphylococcus bacteria, staphylokinase, has been considered as one suitable candidate. Staphylococcus is found on the skin or mucous membranes of every person. However, if the body is weakened or the immune system is compromised, it can cause an infection that is difficult to treat. Although the immune system tries to isolate these bacteria by using a protective barrier similar in composition to that of a blood clot, staphylococcus can break it down with staphylokinase.

However, staphylokinase did not appear to be a suitable candidate for the treatment of stroke due to its low efficacy. But this could now change with the work of Martin Toul, who has shown that the efficacy reported so far is actually many times – up to 10 000 times – higher. “We are working on research and development of substances effective in stroke within the Stroke Brno project and our research has been supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports with a four-year INBIO grant of CZK 100 million,” said Toul.

The link that could change the perception of staphylokinase in treatment came about unplanned. “We were testing proteins similar to staphylokinase, and we needed to get baseline data to use as a basis for comparison. We didn’t just want to rely on data reported in the literature; we wanted to verify previous observations in the lab. We went more in depth and found that the staphylokinase activity was actually quite different,” Toul described.

The overall efficiency of staphylokinase, i.e. the efficiency of dissolving a blood clot, is indeed low. However, its mechanism is more complex and consists of two steps. The first is the binding of staphylokinase to its partner, which is very weak indeed. In contrast, the second step, the dissolution of the blood clot itself, is ten thousand times more efficient overall. This is due to the minimal binding of staphylokinase, because of which only a negligible fraction of staphylokinase molecules form an active bound form. Therefore, if the binding could be made more efficient, the overall efficiency of dissolving blood clots would increase many fold.

“Everyone was looking at the activity as a whole. But we looked at the individual steps of the mechanism and found the limiting one. As a result, we found that we don’t need to improve staphylokinase at all in terms of dissolution activity, but just focus on its binding efficiency, which is easier to do,” Toul emphasized. Thus, future research will aim to find proteins with improved binding properties so that the overall efficiency is as high as possible. “Using protein engineering methods, we plan to design thousands of variants, test them in our Loschmidt laboratories and send the most suitable candidates to our colleagues at the Institute of Biophysics of the CAS, with whom we also collaborate within the Stroke Brno platform,” outlined Martin Toul’s future plans.

The first author of the thesis Mgr. Martin Toul is a student of Masaryk University and a researcher of the Protein Engineering team (FNUSA-ICRC) in Loschmidt laboratories under the supervision of Prof. Zbyněk Prokop and Prof. Jiří Damborský. In 2020, he was awarded a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship for PhD students, thanks to which he spent a semester at the University of Texas at Austin in the group of Prof. Kenneth A. Johnson.

Martin_Toul

For the seventh time, the role of women in research is commemorated with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We would like to commemorate several colleagues for whom science research is not only a job but also a mission. And that there were many to choose from, at the International Clinical Research Center at St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC) more than half of the researchers are women (52%).

The new director of the FNUSA-ICRC from the new year is Prof. MUDr. Irena Rektorová, Ph.D. She is an internationally recognized and respected neurologist and scientist with expertise in movement disorders, cognitive neurology, non-invasive brain stimulation and structural and functional imaging. Currently, she also works as a research group leader at the Central European Institute of Technology CEITEC of Masaryk University and as a neurologist and head of the Centre for Abnormal Movements and Parkinsonism at the First Neurological Clinic of FNUSA and LF MU. Last year, she received the MU Rector’s Award for long-term excellence in research and the MUNI Scientist 2021 Award.Irena-Rektorova

What advice would you give to female students who are thinking about their future and one of the options for them is science and research?
I would advise them to try joining a good research team as early as possible, preferably while they are still in school, so that they get a feel for what research entails. And I would stress to them that the most important thing is to have a good mentor and, of course, an internship abroad. Young people are like sponges, they soak up new things well, they are full of energy and drive and they are flexible and enthusiastic. That’s how it should be. They don’t have to be shy at all to ask a lot of questions and try to do things they’ve never thought about before. And being women? Is there something specific to them? They’ll have to combine research with family if they want it. And that’s certainly possible if they want to.

What’s the biggest challenge you want to tackle this year?
I had to grapple with some major things in January – we managed to get a contract signed with the Faculty of Medicine of MU to create a joint workplace of the International Clinical Research Center of FNUSA and LF MU, it was signed between the director of FNUSA ing. The contract has added value for both parties and will bring stability to the ICRC and will be valid from 1 July this year. Furthermore, we were able to submit the NPO-NEURO-D Excels project, which establishes a broad inter-institutional consortium as a cornerstone for the National Institute for Neurological Research. The project was coordinated by FNUSA with its grants department, Professor Milan Brázdil was the scientific coordinator, and I coordinated one of the three pillars of the project, which cross-institutionally focused on neurodegeneration with cognitive impairment. We submitted the project on 7 February. We will now keep our fingers crossed that the project will be funded, there is a nice interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration set up, research at the FNUSA ICRC plays an important role in it.
Otherwise, I have many other plans for this year, mainly I will have to learn to effectively combine the management of the FNUSA-ICRC with clinical work with patients at the First Neurological Clinic of FNUSA and LF MU, with teaching and mentoring undergraduate and PhD students and with leading my excellent research group at CEITEC MU. This will be very challenging and I hope I will succeed, for now I am still looking forward to it!

Last year, Dr. Petra Šedová received the Danubius Young Scientist Award for her outstanding work in the field of neuroepidemiology. The award is given to only one researcher in a country and is competed between different scientific disciplines. (The award is given by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research (BMBFW) and the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe (IDM). Dr. Seda has other awards to her credit, and in 2018 she received the Martina Roessel Memorial Grant (awarded by the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry) supporting women scientists who care for preschool children while developing their scientific careers.Petra_Sedova

What advice would you give to female students who are thinking about their future and one of their options is science and research?
Don’t be afraid! If you are inwardly considering the adventurous challenging path of science and research, take a few steps along it and you may find that it is your path that you find fun, motivating, personally fulfilling, and meaningful to devote your time to expanding human knowledge. Start today, the sooner the better, ideally in high school. Above all, find a good mentor, a supervisor, because he/she shapes your first steps, shows you the direction to go, how to ask questions, how to seek answers. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, making mistakes is inevitable in the learning process, only those who do nothing – do nothing wrong. Go abroad for an experience, broaden your horizons and make new contacts and collaborations. And if you find a loving partner with whom you are thinking of starting a family, discuss together how you imagine combining your work and childcare, how you will support each other.

What is the biggest challenge you want to tackle this year?
I have already partially mentioned the biggest challenge for me in my last answer, clearly the question of how to appropriately combine the care of three young preschool children, research projects and clinical work as a doctor…

The list of achievements of our female scientists is of course longer, let us mention at least the Strmisek Prize for Dr. Sheardová, the Paul Dudley White International Scholar Award for Dr. Kunzová or the Brno City Prize in the field of “medical science and pharmacy” for Prof. Šulcová.

We wish all our colleagues every success in 2022.

On Friday, 28 January 2022, in the presence of the Minister of Health of the Czech Republic, Prof. MUDr. Vlastimil Válek, CSc., MBA, EBIR, the Rector of Masaryk University, Prof. MUDr. Martin Bareš, Ph.D., the Director of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno, Ing. Vlastimil Vajdák, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of MU prof. Ing. MUDr. Martin Repko, Ph.D. and the Director of the International Clinical Research Centre of the St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno (FNUSA-ICRC), Prof. MUDr. Irena Rektorová, Ph.D., signed the Agreement on the establishment of a joint workplace called the International Clinical Research Centre.

It is the result of more than a year of negotiations between the representatives of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University. “This close connection will guarantee the achievement of better quality results and enable the concentration of biomedical research in Brno. For example, in the area of grants, it will be possible to jointly pursue large strategic projects and thus further promote the prestige of Brno as a leading Czech centre of science and research,” said Martin Bareš, Rector of MU.

The joint workplace will be within the St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University at the level of an institute. “I have always declared that cooperation with Masaryk University is one of my priorities. The establishment of the joint workplace is a logical outcome of the connection between FNUSA and MU. It will be a relatively independent entity, including the internal structure and financing – all this will be managed by the head,” said Vlastimil Vajdák. The current director of FNUSA-ICRC, Prof. Irena Rektorová, M.D., Ph.D., will become the head of the FNUSA-ICRC.

The contract has also been approved by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic and will now be submitted to the Academic Senate of Faculty of Medicine and then to Academic Senate of Masaryk University. “I consider the establishment of another joint workplace of MU Faculty of Medicine and FNUSA to be a great step towards the optimization of scientific and research cooperation between both institutions and towards ensuring personnel stabilization of the existing joint staff. The joint institute will also be newly dedicated to teaching activities of young scientists,” said Martin Repko, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of MU.

Creating a strategic plan and managing the joint ICRC institute will be the tasks of the head of the centre, Prof. Irena Rektorová, M.D., Ph.D. “I like new challenges, this will be one of the most challenging. My priorities will be excellence in research, transparency and financial sustainability of the ICRC. I believe that the joint workplace will contribute significantly to building a strong scientific platform in Brno,” added Prof. Rektorová.

Prof. Rektorová is an internationally renowned and respected neuroscientist, researcher and member of the committees of many European and international societies and scientific panels, with specialties in movement disorders, cognitive neurology, non-invasive brain stimulation and structural and functional imaging. She is also currently working as a research group leader at the Central European Institute of Technology CEITEC of Masaryk University and as a neurologist and head of the Centre for Abnormal Movements and Parkinsonism at the First Neurological Clinic of St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University.

The signing of the contract was also attended by the Minister of Health of the Czech Republic Vlastimil Válek. “I very much appreciate that this unique project combines research in cooperation between medical and educational institutions, which will not only lead to quality results, but also involve experts from both fields and, last but not least, save the Ministry of Health funds. I wish my colleagues every success in their work,” Minister Válek thanked the participants.

FNUSA-ICRC becomes a joint workplace of FNUSA and LF MU

Dean of LF MU Martin Repko, Director of FNUSA-ICRC Irena Rektorová, Director of FNUSA Vlastimil Vajdák

Agreement press conferenceRector of MU Martin Bareš, Minister of Health of the Czech Republic Vlastimil Válek, Director of FNUSA Vlastimil Vajdák, Director of FNUSA-ICRC Irena Rektorová